Aylwin Azócar, Patricio

Aylwin Azócar, Patricio īl´wĭn äzō´kär [key], 1918–2016, president of Chile (1990–94). A lawyer and the son of a Chilean supreme court president, Aylwin was a founder of the Christian Democratic party in 1957 and served as a senator (1965–73). He initially supported the military coup that overthrew President Allende in Sept., 1973, but moved into opposition as Gen. Augusto Pinochet 's dictatorship became increasingly repressive. In 1989, he became the spokesman for the coalition that successfully advocated the rejection of Pinochet's continued rule in a national plebiscite. The referendum led to the reestablishment of a democratic government and Aylwin's election as president. Aylwin strengthened civilian government by confronting Chile's mounting social tensions, gradually reasserting civilian control over the military, and investigating the human-rights abuses of the former military government while preserving Chile's strong economic performance.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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